Maize is the most important cereal grain in terms of total production and utilization, with the bulk of the production being used for human consumption in Ghana. With yields about 1.7 tons/ha, which is comparatively lower to what is produced in other countries, prominent people along the Maize value chain came together to form a national association of maize to increase maize productivity and profitability. The National Maize Association of Ghana (NAMAG) was launched, Tuesday 8 March 2016, in Kumasi, Ghana.
The launching attracted many important personalities, as well as various stakeholders such as input dealers, farmers, poultry farmers and agro – processors from far and wide in the country. In his welcome address, Dr. K. Obeng–Antwi, SARD-SC Maize Country Coordinator, articulated the importance of the association as one of the ways to push up productivity and form alliances with various users of maize in order to create profitable marketing and business links. “It is therefore, incumbent upon us, as major stakeholders to pool our resources together for a more effective use of available resources to benefit ourselves and our country. It is in the light of this that the AfDB- funded ‘’Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC)’’ project wishes to join hands with the Maize Association to accelerate maize transformational impact in Ghana.”
Dr. Obeng-Antwi said the project believes that one major approach to realizing its set objectives is to establish strategic alliances that link researchers; link producers to inputs and finance; link end – users to producers and create new market potentials and opportunities.
In his remarks at the event, Dr. Sam Ajala, SARD-SC project Maize Commodity Specialist, bemoaned the low maize output in Ghana and the attendant market fragmentation which continually traps majority of local farmers in poverty. He said maize is the third most important crop in the world. For a transformational impact in Ghana, Dr. Ajala advised the stakeholders to “grow maize competitively and in areas best suited for it. You need to address Issues of the right type of fertilizer to use for planting, what quality of seeds to plant and it is important to address fragmented maize market, and then you should strategically place maize to feed the local poultry industry and for food security. There is a need to create a market- led business for maize by creating the demand which will in turn increase production and productivity.”
Mr. Kwaku Minka Fordjour, Ashanti Regional Director of Agriculture , said the Association would be the mover of maize production in Ghana and he called on the Country’s Ministry of Agriculture to provide the necessary extension services and technological support to the farmers. Mr. Asante Krobeah, Director of Crop Services, Ghana, reiterated the importance of maize to food security in the country as current 1.7 tons/ha was not enough to feed the nation. “With concerted effort, our national output can be increased, so the idea of maize association is heartwarming , bringing all maize actors on the value chain on board to achieve a common goal,” he said.
NAMAG was officially launched by Mr.Oppong -Adjei, National President of the of Poultry Farmers Association and an interim executive was elected to run the association until the time a substantive executive is put in place. .